Aug 08 2014
Tech

It’s Almost Time for Me to Get a New Phone! Do You Have Any Advice?

Welp, my old HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE with Verizon Wireless has been on-the-fritz for a while and I’ve just about had it! My 2yr contract up (as of 08/02/2014!!), so that means I can get a new phone any time now — yipee! Here are some of my thoughts and research for my upcoming purchase & new 2yr contract. . .

So, I am staying with Verizon Wireless because my parents & sister have Verizon, Ben & his parents have Verizon, etc. Since there’s no changing my mind on that, I am going to give a brief synopsis of the available Verizon phones, what I’ve heard about them, etc. And of course, included in this will be the forever debate of Android vs. iPhone :-).

Ok then – here we go!

No HTC, No Windows, No Amazon

Ok – so to get this out of the way, my past two phones have been HTC and I always love (adore, really) them at first and then slowly grow to despise them by the end of the two years! Not happening this time — no HTC phone for me! 2nd & 3rd: I’m just not getting a windows or amazon phone. I like my android and I’m willing to consider an iPhone, but really that’s as far as I can venture this time around.

HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE

For comparison, here is the CNET review and the specs for my current phone that I am getting rid of. I really like the size. It was the smallest phone out there when I got it. However, it was old and I regret getting old technology because now I can tell it is really really old.

Specs:

  • 8 megapixel camera
  • Diagonal Size = 4in
  • Dimensions = 4.8″ tall x 2.4″ wide x 0.46″ thick
  • Weight = 4.66 oz.
  • Operating System = It shipped with Android Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0–4.0.4). Right now the phone is running 4.0.4, so it’s as up-to-date as it’s going to go (I never got that over-the-air Jellybean update! 🙁 )
  • Memory = 8GB on board memory ; Supports up to 32GB microSD Card
  • Processor = 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor
  • Battery = 1,700mAh battery
  • Usage Time = Up to 9.5 hours
  • WiFi / 4G phone
  • Pro: Global-Ready (If I travel abroad – no need to rent a phone, I can call Verizon and activate the international plan for voice calling and data. This was great and I used it when I was in Israel this past November!)

Samsung Galaxy S5

For a really really long time the Samsung Galaxy S5 (which was released and available through Verizon in April 2014) was going to be my #1, most definite first choice for my new phone. . .

Here are some specs:

  • 16 megapixel camera that takes beautiful photos (all the reviews rave about this)
  • 5.1″ (diagonal) Full HD sAMOLED Corning Gorilla Glass Touch Screen Display
  • Dimensions = 5.59″ (H) x 2.85″ (W) x 0.31″ (D)
  • Weight = 5.11 oz.
  • Operating System = Android 4.4, KitKat
  • Memory = 16GB on board memory + 2GB RAM; Supports up to 128GB microSD Card
  • Processor = 2.5GHz Quad Core Processor
  • Keyboard = Virtual QWERTY Keyboard with Swype
  • Battery = Standard 2800 mAH Lithium Ion Battery
  • Usage Time = Up to 27 hours
  • Standby Time = Up to 20 days
  • WiFi / 4G phone
  • Google Chrome for Android is the default browser – this is new!! 🙂
  • Pro: Global-Ready (If I travel abroad – no need to rent a phone, I can call Verizon and activate the international plan. Not planning to do this, but good to know.)
  • Pro: It’s what everyone is talking about — “the hot new thing”
  • Pro: Did you know the phone is waterproof?!
  • Con: seems like there’s lots of bloatware (Verizon preloaded apps + Samsung preloaded apps + Google preloaded apps)
  • Pro: The S5 made it on to CNET’s list of Best Phones of 2014 (Updated August 8, 2014 @ 11:13am Pacific time)
  • Here is CNET’s full review
  • TechRadar also has a good review of the S5 including a comparison to the LG G3!

As a side note, but sort of related – Verizon is still offering the Samsung Galaxy S4, but why on earth would I get an older model phone (who wants old technology when you already have to keep the phone for two years!) — no way, no thank you!

Here’s a photo of the S5:

[image - Samsung Galaxy S5]
Photo credit: @SamsungMobileUS’s twitter

So the real issue, is that this phone looks amazingly beautiful and perfect on paper. It has everything I want! Even that precious SD slot so when I download too many apps (like I have a tendency to do) they have a place to actually be stored (my old phone has an SD slot, but my apps can’t be stored there — what’s the point of that, grr!). Yes, it’s a little big, but aren’t all phones nowadays. But here’s the kicker, my best friend has one of these (an S4 or an S5) and she has had to send it back to Samsung or Sprint 4 times because it hasn’t been right. About two weeks ago she got it back again and we were having trouble talking (perhaps it was because of the storm that was going on?) And Ben’s friend also doesn’t like his phone (though he has an S4 and is on AT&T). My dad also has an S4, and really likes his phone! Though sometimes he tells me I call and he doesn’t hear it ring, he just gets the chime that he missed a call. 🙁 Not sure if it’s where he is in the house that he doesn’t get service, or if it’s a phone issue. But all of these people having these issues, doesn’t make me want to get the phone, no matter how much I like it on paper.

LG G3

This is a brand new phone from LG. Literally — Verizon released it on July 17th. CNET did a review on the phone, which makes the phone sound really great (original review date was June 16th, but they last updated the page on July 22nd — probably right after the public release.)

[image - LG G3 phone]
Photo credit: @LGUSAMobile’s twitter

After all the negativity I’ve heard about the Galaxy S4 / S5, this phone looks great! But it’s so new, I don’t know that it’s been out long enough to have any negative reviews!.

In any case, here are some specs for comparison:

  • 13 megapixel camera
  • 5.5″ (diagonal) Quad HD Display
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3 Screen Protection
  • Dimensions = 5.76″(H) x 2.94″(W) x 0.35″(D)
    → huge phone, right? – read this from Computer World
  • Weight = 5.28 oz
  • Operating System = Android 4.4.2 (KitKat)
  • Memory = 32 GB; supports microSD card up to 128 GB
  • Processor = Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.5 GHz Quad-Core Processor / 3 GB RAM
  • Battery = 3000 mAh Li–Ion
  • Usage Time = Up to 18.6 hours
  • Standby Time = Up to 17.3 days
  • WiFi / 4G phone
  • Pro: Global-Ready (If I travel abroad – no need to rent a phone, I can call Verizon and activate the international plan. Not planning to do this, but good to know.)
  • Con: seems like there’s lots of bloatware (Verizon preloaded apps + LG preloaded apps + Google preloaded apps)

Moto X by Motorola

This is the phone that Ben’s brother and mom have. At first it seemed great because it’s compact and android, but after reading more about it, I found some unfortunate specs I am not sure I like about it (see below). Also, Verizon released the phone on 12/23/2013, which is about 8.5 months ago already (nearly a year). Not sure if this qualifies as old yet, but I kind of feel like it is in phone technology.

Anyways, here are the basic specs, as well as some pros and cons:

  • 10 megapixel camera
  • Display = HD 720 x 1280, 316ppi
  • Dimensions = Height 5.09″ x Width 2.57″ x Curve .22–.41″
  • Weight = 4.59 oz
  • Operating System = Android 4.4.2 (KitKat)
  • 4FF Pre–installed SIM Card
  • Memory = 16GB on board memory + 2GB RAM
  • Processor = Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System, & 2 GB of RAM
  • Battery = Non–removable (2200 mAh)
  • Usage Time = Up to 24 hours
  • Standby Time = Up to 10 days
  • WiFi / 4G phone
  • Pro: Global-Ready (If I travel abroad – no need to rent a phone, I can call Verizon and activate the international plan. Not planning to do this, but good to know.)
  • sort of a con: seems like there’s bloatware, though less than other android phones (Verizon preloaded apps + Google preloaded apps)
  • BIG con = there is NO slot for a microSD card! So that means the amount of storage it comes with is what you’re stuck with! (This is the unfortunate spec mentioned above I am not sure I like / could live with because of the numerous amount of photos I take and the apps I like to have on my phone.)

Update: so actually — you can design your own Moto X through the Motorola website (clicking from the Verizon Wireless website). So the 16GB limit + no microSD card slot, still a worry. But, at least now I found a way to increase storage (and have a pink phone!!) Right now the available sizes are 16GB and 32GB. It looks like 64GB will be available soon. Yay! Maybe I’ll get this phone.

Another update: they might be releasing the Moto X2 / Moto X+1 “soon” (“imminently”). So now the question is, can I wait for that? . . . So many choices!

Other stuff: cnet review (and a photo below)

[image - Moto X - Verizon]
Photo Credit: VerizonWireless.com (screen capture)

Apple’s iPhone 5s

While I am 92% sure I am going to get an Android phone, there is a part of me that wonders if I should get an iPhone. I mean, Verizon offers the 5s, so why not? (P.S. Verizon also offers the 4S, but I’m not getting old technology – see my note about the Galaxy 4S, same reasoning here.) It would be like I have a complete set: a macbook pro laptop, an iPad, and then a phone — how cute!

But – as a web developer, I hate to stop supporting the open source platform (android). And, what about all of my favorite apps? Everything is different in the app store that in “Google Play”? And how about Gmail, Google calendar and my contacts and stuff (I know those sync, but it’s just not the same!).

If I do decide to go with an iPhone – can I wait until the iPhone 6?? It’s coming out soon, right? I heard maybe in September . . . newer is always (sometimes?) better!

In any case, here are the iPhone 5s specs:

  • 8 megapixel camera
  • 4–inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi–Touch Retina Display
  • 1136 x 640 pixel resolution at 326 ppi
  • Fingerprint–resistant oleophobic coating on front display
  • Dimensions: 4.87″ (H) x 2.31″ (W) x .30″(D)
  • Weight = 3.95 oz
  • Capacity = 16GB (formatted capacity less)
  • Operating System = iOS 7
  • Intelligent Assistant: Siri
  • Built–in rechargeable lithium–ion battery
  • Charging via USB to computer system or power adapter
  • Talk time = Up to 10 hours on 3G
  • Standby time = Up to 250 hours
  • Internet use = Up to 8 hours on 3G, up to 10 hours on LTE, up to 10 hours on Wi–Fi
  • Video Playback = Up to 10 hours
  • Audio Playback =up to 40 hours
  • Processor = A7 chip with 64–bit architecture; M7 motion coprocessor
  • Pro – compatible with iTunes (like an iPod and a phone in one!)
  • Pro: Global-Ready (If I travel abroad – no need to rent a phone, I can call Verizon and activate the international plan. Not planning to do this, but good to know.)
  • BIG con = there is NO slot for a microSD card! I know this is how it is with iPhones — you choose the size you want pay more based on that. So that means the amount of storage it comes with is what you’re stuck with! This is unfortunate and I am not sure I like it / could live with because of the numerous amount of photos I take and the apps I like to have on my phone.

– – – – – –

Is anyone else releasing new android phones soon? I would hate to get a phone to then have a newer better phone be released a few days / weeks later!

Please leave your thoughts and advice in the comments! Anything and everything would be so so much appreciated! 🙂

[image - Tamara signature]

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